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Clustering Bushes

Category: SWARMING.

If there are no large trees in the vicinity of your apiary, all the
better, as there will then be no danger of your swarms lighting on
them; but all bee-keepers are not so fortunate, myself being one of the
number. In such a place it is necessary to provide something for them
to cluster on; get some bushes six or eight feet high (hemlock is
preferable); cut off the ends of the branches, except a few near the
top: secure the whole with strings to prevent swaying in ordinary
winds; make a hole in the earth deep enough to hold them, and large
enough to be lifted out easily. The bees will be likely to cluster on
some of these; they can then be raised out, and the bees hived without
difficulty. A bunch of dry mullein tops tied together on the end of a
pole, makes a very good place for clustering; it so nearly resembles a
swarm that the bees themselves appear to be sometimes deceived. I have
frequently known them leave a branch where they had begun to cluster,
and settle on this when held near.

The motives for immediately removing the swarm to the stand are, that
they are generally more convenient to watch in case they are disposed
to leave; also many bees can be saved. All that leave the hive, mark
the location the same as in spring; several hundreds will probably
leave the first day; a few may leave several times; when removed at
night, such will return to the stand of the previous day, and generally
are lost; whereas, if they are carried at once to a permanent stand,
this loss is avoided.

Those that are left flying at the time, return to the old stock, which
those that return from the swarm the next day will not always do. The
time for moving them now is no more than at another. It is unnecessary
to object, and say, that "it will take too long to wait for the bees to
get in;" this will not do. I shall insist on your getting all the bees
to enter before leaving any way. I consider this an essential feature
in the management. I will not say that my directions will _always_
prevent their going to the woods, but this I do say, that out of the
hundreds that I have hived, not one has ever left. It is possible
proper management has had no influence in my success, yet something
like an opinion of this kind has been indulged for a long time.

Next: How Swarms Are Generally Managed That Leave For The Woods

Previous: Protection From The Sun Necessary

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